WMass Div. 4 baseball: Franklin Tech holds off Pioneer

  • Franklin Tech’s Nate Pelletier hits a two-run double in the top of the fourth inning against Pioneer on Thursday in Northfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Franklin Tech’s Nate Sciandra throws against Pioneer in the bottom of the third inning Thursday in Northfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Franklin Tech’s Nate Sciandra throws against Pioneer in the bottom of the second inning Thursday in Northfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Franklin Tech’s Max Charest rounds third to score off a double from Nate Pelletier in the top of the fourth inning against Pioneer on Thursday in Northfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Pioneer’s Jason Quinn makes a diving catch hit to left field by Franklin Tech to end the top of the fourth inning Thursday in Northfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Franklin Tech shortstop Max Charest fields a grounder from Pioneer in the bottom of the second inning against Pioneer on Thursday in Northfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Pioneer’s Jacob Quinn slides to reel in a ball hit to center field by Franklin Tech in the top of the third inning Thursday in Northfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Pioneer pitcher Nate Mousseau throws against Franklin Tech in the top of the second inning Thursday in Northfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

For the Recorder
Published: 6/6/2019 9:43:45 PM
Modified: 6/6/2019 9:43:35 PM

NORTHFIELD — Teams seeded right next to each other in a tournament bracket don’t always produce the anticipated tightly-contested matchup, but the Western Massachusetts Baseball Committee got it absolutely right with Thursday’s Division 4 first-rounder.

Franklin County Technical School, the No. 9 seed, snapped a 2-2 tie with a three-run sixth inning, then fended off Pioneer Valley Regional School’s last-ditch rally in the bottom of the seventh to post a 5-4 road victory, the Eagles’ first WMass tournament victory in seven years.

That 2012 win for Tech came at the expense of Ware High School, the Eagles’ next opponent. The top-seeded Indians host that quarterfinal-round game Monday night at 7.

“If I had any hair, I would have lost it all this season,” said Tech coach Dan Prasol. “I’d say I was nervous, but that's been pretty much par for the course. I’m really proud of these kids for not giving up. We’ve preached mental toughness and staying focused, and they’ve really responded to that.”

Sophomore Nate Sciandra worked the first six innings for the Eagles (14-7) and pitched out of a pair of bases-loaded situations in the first two innings, escaping with only a 1-0 deficit.

“It feels great. We haven’t always had the best games, but we did it today,” said Sciandra. “I’m proud of everybody. It was stressful, but I went out and tried to focus on what I had to do.”

Pioneer (9-12), the No. 8 seed, struck for a pair in the home seventh against reliever Garret Cole. A pair of walks and a base hit by Jared Hubbard loaded the bases with one out before Ryan Potter delivered an RBI single and another run scored on a wild pitch, pulling the Panthers to within 5-4. After a strikeout, a hit batsman reloaded the bases. Prasol brought in his second reliever of the inning, Sim Maniatty, who induced Nate Mousseau to fly out to right field to end it.

“We had every opportunity,” said Panthers coach Jordan Branson, whose team stranded 12 baserunners, including the bases loaded three times. “A few plays we didn’t make in the field, a runner thrown out at home on a close play, only getting one run in the first two innings when we had the bases loaded twice — it’s tough.”

The Panthers broke on top in the home first thanks to an infield hit by Jason Quinn, who stole second and came around on a single to right by Jacob Quinn, just out of the reach of Tech’s diving Jared Bergmann. Sciandra then walked the next two hitters before Potter grounded out to short.

In the second, a pair of walks sandwiching an infield hit by Mousseau filled the bases again with two out, but Jacob Quinn flied to right to end the threat.

Mousseau, Pioneer’s starter, set down 10 straight Tech batters and got the first two outs of the fourth before the Eagles rallied. Max Charest and Cole reached on singles and Nate Pelletier delivered a double to deep left, plating both runners for a 2-1 Tech lead.

That proved short-lived as Pioneer forged a tie in the bottom of the fourth. Robbie Kenyon led off with a walk, was bunted over to second by Cam Dresser and scored on Jason Quinn’s RBI single to left. Quinn moved to second on the throw to the plate and attempted to score on Jack Loud’s base hit to left, but the relay throw from Max Leh to Charest to catcher Sam Trudeau nailed Quinn on a bang-bang play at the plate to deny Pioneer the lead run.

Tech then got singles from Leh and Bergmann to begin the fifth, but Mousseau set down the next three hitters.

Hubbard then relieved Mousseau to start the critical sixth inning, and Tech began brightly when Charest reached on an error and Cole singled to center. A comebacker to the mound off the bat of Pelletier moved the runners to second and third. Mike Patnode was intentionally walked to load the bases for Leh, who spiked a two-run single to left-center to put the Eagles up 4-2.

Bergmann followed with a groundout to short that brought in pinch-runner Dylan Demers with the third run of the inning.

Both teams finished the day with nine hits.

“We have a tendency to start cold and then heat up,” said Prasol. “There were a lot of chances for that game to get away from us, and Nate really buckled down and kept us in there — a sophomore pitching in one of the biggest games he's ever pitched in.”

FC Tech 5, Pioneer 4

FC Tech ....................... 000 203 0 — 5  9  1

Pioneer ......................  100 100 2 — 4  9  1

Hits: (FT) Cole 2, Leh 2, Maniatty, Sciandra, Charest, Pelletier, Bergmann. (P) Mousseau 2, Jac. Quinn 2, Jas. Quinn 2, Loud, Hubbard, Potter.

2B: (FT) Pelletier.

RBI: (FT) Pelletier 2, Leh 2, Bergmann. (P) Jac. Quinn, Jas. Quinn, Potter.

WP: Sciandra (6ip, 2k, 5bb), Cole (2/3ip, 1k, 2bb), Maniatty (1/3ip, 0k, 0bb).

LP: Hubbard (2ip, 0k, 1bb), Mousseau (5ip, 1k, 0bb).


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